Dissertation Defense by Richard Bakken
Date and Time
Friday, June 21, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, Room 201
San Diego, CA 92110
EXPLORING THE IMPACT ON STUDENTS OF WESTERN UNIVERSITIES ON FOREIGN SOIL: A CASE STUDY OF QATAR
The development of branch campuses in higher education is not a new phenomenon. Over the past decades, however, Western universities have begun to establish branch campuses in other countries. Middle Eastern countries, in particular, have rapidly expanded the number of Western-style branch campuses for native students in their countries. This qualitative research study focused on one specific Middle Eastern country, Qatar, and explored how native students respond to attending a Western university that has been transplanted from the West into their country.
This case study/cross case research investigated what is leading native students in Qatar to attend one of the branch campuses of American universities that have been established in their country. The study also explored the impact of this decision on the students’ social lives and religious beliefs, as well as their motivation to remain in school. At a more general level, the study explored how students have integrated Western values encountered while attending the universities with their own family traditions and religious beliefs. Individual student interviews, a focus group, and administrator interviews were the primary methods of data collection, and a cross case analysis was conducted to discover patterns that cut across the individual cases.
This study offers insight into motivating factors that led students to choose to study at one of the Western universities in Doha, Qatar. Participants described how family influenced their decisions about where to study and expressed concern about outside influences potentially affecting their culture and beliefs. The study also examined how students described their educational experience; themes generated in this part of the study focused on factors that contributed to student success, including the effects of a mixed-gender environment, changes in societal and familial beliefs, and participation in extra-curricular activities. Students also considered adjustments related to their educational experience, especially with how they cope with personal cultural changes within an academic setting. Along with changes in perception about their university experience, students made adjustments in study habits and time management in order to be successful within their chosen academic program.